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"I managed to stumble across this film when I went around searching for an "intelligent film with gross-out gore". And that's what I got when I ordered this cheap DVD. The film starts out following this 17 year old that feels alienated in his upper class home. Everything seems perfect but nothing is what it seems. There are a series of revelations the protagonist (Billy) discovers as his curiosity grows. Unraveling the truth was no easy task because of "Society's" many conspiracies and cover-ups. The movies political voice lambasted against shallow people only worrying about social status and popularity (as illustrated with Billy's ex-girlfriend in the beginning). It also shows how the rich, literally, feed off the poor. This reminds me of how back in the Roman Empire, the peasants were heavily taxed, which was one factor of the Fall of Rome, where the poor revolted. There were clever puns thrown in that some people might have missed. The rich would eat and tear a person (well just one person) in an erotic orgy zombie-like attack, "rich feeding off the poor" - get it? There lots of references about how everyone would be "contributing to society" too.Society has the oddness of "Jacob's Ladder" and "Nick of Time", the social satire of "American Psycho", and the gross effects of "Bad Taste" and "Re-Animator", only more emphasis on slimy repulsive sludge. Some people got dismembered in ways beyond my imagination. It wasn't bloody but it was gooey, I felt like some of the goop splattered on my face, as I stayed glued to the screen. This bizarre part makes up about the last 20 minutes of the film. Searching for answers made up most of the movie. Other stuff I should mention: There's a little love story on the side mixed in. Film might feel like it ended a bit prematurely. Some nudity and sex scenes. A fat lady is thrown in for comic relief. You will see someone have an actual butthead. The music is pretty good and fits the movie's tone. The box says it's unrated, not rated R.So if you want gross splattastic effects used in a film that mocks greedy shallow rich people that think they're better than us humans (the rich weren't human?!) in a cynical imaginative manner, "Society" is good choice."
It's all about Fitting In.
Dark Mechanicus JSG | Fortified Bunker, USSA | 01/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Poor Bill Whitney! He's a high school kid who lives in a marble mansion in Beverly Hills. His family is filthy rich and super connected. When they're not buzzing around LA in the Maserati they're having the chauffeur warm up the Bentley.
Whitney is all-American, captain of the football team, soon to be President of the Student Body. With a Washington DC internship in the works and a Harvard acceptance letter in the hopper, what could be better for a teenager in love?
Everything. Bill Whitney is going through an awkward stage: he's got to contribute to Society, after all, but he doesn't fit in. He doesn't feel he belongs.
Worse, Whitney is convinced something is deeply, frighteningly wrong: how to explain the night terrors he has of walking through his own house, a house dark but hardly empty, the halls and rooms filled with whispers and shuffling? How to explain his sleepwalking, only to wake huddled at the base of the stairs clutching a butcher knife? How to fathom his surprise and revulsion when something---only for a fleeting instant---shifts beneath the ridge of his sister's shoulder blade, too sluggish for doubt, too quick for certainty?
How to dismiss his conviction that there are secrets being passed behind closed doors, deals being struck, sacraments carried out?
The rabid Brian Yuzna made his film debut with "Society", which takes teen angst anxiety, loads it up with cordite, and lights the fuse with a charming little message that will appeal identity-wrestling teens the world over: if you feel you're always on the outside looking in, then you could always turn yourself inside out. Literally.
Things take a turn for the worse when Whitney's schoolmate Blanchard produces a tape suggesting Whitney's sister Jenny is demonstrating considerably more than filial piety towards the folks. Blanchard's subsequent "death", increasingly bizarre behavior on the part of his friends and family, and the violent death---and subsequent rosy reappearance---of a school rival suggest that something is seriously wrong with the Upper Crust of Beverly Hills, and it's not just because the rich are getting richer.
It could, however, have something to do with the rich getting hungrier. And the more Whitney (played like a champ by eighties character actor Billy Warlock) finds out, the more it occurs to him he might end up making a far greater---and more lasting---contribution than he ever dreamed possible.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked that "the rich are different from us: they have more money". In less talented hands, "Society" might have languished as nothing more than a tedious feature-long riff on an old theme. Not so with Yuzna, who invests it with every atom of the bloodthirsty, ferocious, and downright scary creativity that flows through his other directorial work: "Return of the Living Dead 3", "The Dentist" films, and the "Herbert West: Re-Animator" trilogy.
The glory of "Society" is that for all its perversity, the movie functions very much in the realm of quirky eighties psychological thriller, and for the bulk of its running time, there's hardly a drop of blood or a gobbet of gore. Certainly Bill Whitney has a strained and awkward relationship with his glossy, preening, patrician parents, but at his age who doesn't?
Sure, Blanchard's tape makes it sound like something incestuous might be brewing at Chez Whitney, but it's easy to take a conversation out of context---heck, this is the eighties, the entire situation comedy lineup of the day---Three's Company, Cheers, Diff'rent Strokes---was founded on that routine!
In the meantime, "Society" is a stylish, severely debauched, possibly mentally insane little romp that entertains in spades. Chiefly due to Yuzna's skill with the camera, sense of pacing, spooky use of lighting and color, and lavish set-pieces (the mansion, the car wreck), "Society" entertains on its own terms as a stylishly creepy horror film.
Cinematographer Rick Fichter wields one mean camera! On its own terms, this is a lush and frankly gorgeous film, and the remastered DVD treatment makes it look like it was shot yesterday. Fichter captures the high society ghoulishness with high style, using colored lighting in a fashion reminiscent of Dario Argento. The acting is competent, the casting inspired: all the principals (Warlock, Patrice Jennings as Sis, the parents) work like troopers, while Ben Slack as the silver-tongued society shrink and David Wiley as the cigar-chomping Judge Carter (who has a talent for getting to the `bottom' of any problem, quite literally) steal every scene they're in.
And then, of course, Society has something of a special effects nuke up its Armani sleeve, trotted out in the final, convulsive Big Reveal: effects served up the old-fashioned way (no CGI---everything done with latex and gallons of fake blood and goop and slime), which show how Screamin' Mad George got his nickname, and which---frankly---are nothing short of jaw-dropping, sincerely repulsive, and genuinely disturbing. Think what you'd get if you moved the hankey-pankey in the husky pens of "The Thing" into a Beverly Hills boudoir, then ratchet up the goop and messiness factor by a power of 100.
Jaded creature that I am, I was completely floored by the finale, where it would appear that social mobility in Beverly Hills is less about shinnying up the greasy pole than having the greasy pole do some shinnying of its own---and revealing some latex-inspired sexual positions that would have baffled (or inspired) the authors of the Kama Sutra.
Class warfare? Not really. In the end, as Judge Carter might say, it's all about finding your niche.
Geez! This one is something.
DonMac | Lynn, MA United States | 10/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay everybody - calm down! Yes there is a less than subtle jab at the classes here, but that's one better than most B-level horror flix. Bottom line it is still a horror flick - and an engrossing and fun one at that. It is clever in spots, has some humor and really, the last 20 minutes of the film had me sitting there incredulous. I think that means it did it's job! A weird little trip."
It's weird, gross, humorous, and creepy all rolled into one
Jennifer M. Hensley | Hawaii | 01/20/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's a reason why horror flicks such as this one are highly sought after. I'm still not shocked at all for what sellers are asking for. I too, like a crack fiend, gave in and payed a ridiculous price to have Society in my personal Horror collection. It's because this film delivers the goods such as: originality, gross factor (as in bodies melting into each other), that's unique for its time, humor, weirdness, creepiness, and surprisingly stamps a shocking scene that wont leave my mind! Society tells a truly twisted alien-like family that have to survive by committing the nastiest of actions! I wont give spoilers; I'm sure someone here as already typed up the whole story. haha. You'll just have to take my word and check it out!
I can't stress this enough when talking about Screaming Mad George's special effects!!! His work always amazing to me! If your into horror flicks such as: Slither, Silent Night Deadly Night -4, Amityville 1992: It's About Time, Slither, Night of the Creeps, and the Basket Case series."
Science Fiction as social commentary
Timothy W. Gardner | Roseville, CA USA | 10/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A nice try as a commentary on our society, the rich versus everybody else, but compromised in some areas. For a more compelling look at the human condition in the sci-fi format, try another sleeper, not yet on DVD(too new), "District 9". It makes the later "Star Trek" genre look as if it has nothing to say. The social commentary is superb."